Just discovered Twellow, a new kind of online yellow pages that uses Twitter profiles to populate business listings. I haven’t spent much time poring through it but it sparked some initial thoughts:
- This is an interesting strategy to aggregate business listings, particularly of those small businesses that would not show up in a standard yellow pages directory.
- I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a lot of local-social sites start mining Twitter, Yahoo Answers, etc. for more information they can append to a business profile. While a lot of this data (i.e. Twitter conversations) could be overwhelming, if you could figure out a way to extract interesting nuggets it could be helpful to users. At the least it would be cool to see the social media feed of any merchant attached to their profile. It will give a potential customer a better idea of who they are.
- Businesses that are already social-media-active are probably more likely to generate inbound conversations from potential customers.
- Not sure I buy into ranking businesses in a category by how many followers they have, but as the default it’s probably just as valid as showing the last active profile first.
- I think it’s going to need a bit more data (reviews, services offered, phone numbers, etc.) and functionality (i.e. maps) to become truly useful for both merchants and customers, but for now, if this gets some attention it could become an excellent platform for search engine optimization.
I’ll check it out some more as it evolves and report back.
Update: Greg Sterling pointed out to me that Twellow was started by the guys who own WebProNews.